Sponsored by Oregon Business

Shoe company runs minimalist race

| Print |  Email
Articles - October 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012

 

BY JON BELL

1012 GamePlan SkoraThe highest hurdle facing Portland minimalist running shoe company SKORA since it officially brought its first two models to market in February hasn’t been convincing runners of the potential of the new shoes. Instead, it’s been one of simple recognition among retailers in a field dominated by big guns like Vibram FiveFingers and the Nike Free Run.

“The biggest challenge is being recognized by the running specialty market as an option,” says company founder David Sypniewski, who first saw the light with barefoot-style running after an injury about a decade ago. “It’s been finding retailers that are progressive enough to truly carry specialty products.”

The longer — and possibly slower — inroad into the $500 million minimalist-shoe market has simply been to get people to try out a pair of SKORAs, either the BASE, which retails for $110, or the FORM, which uses Pittards leather from England and goes for $185. By late August, SKORAs were available in about 35 specialty running shops across the country and distributed in seven countries, with more outlets coming onboard every week.

“When a runner or a retailer puts them on, they see these are something truly different,” says Sypniewski, 34, who comes from a sales and marketing background.

The other course for Sypniewski, who funded the startup with savings and credit cards until an investor pitched in $900,000 in 2011, is money. He hopes to raise an additional $3 million in the next two years, a decent chunk of which he is optimistic will be confirmed by the end of this year.

SKORA, which employs four people and has six sales reps across the country, will invest future funding widely in marketing and advertising — from magazine ads to event appearances — and retail support. R&D will figure prominently as well, as the company already has two new models ready for 2013 and a trail shoe on the drawing board.

Combined, those efforts, along with a newly launched brand-ambassador program that will support up-and-coming amateur athletes, have Sypniewski fired up about the future.

“We’re still small and scrappy,” Sypniewski says. “It’s early, but it’s exciting.”

 

More Articles

Money Talks

March 2015
Saturday, February 21, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Will community banks survive the digital age? Three CEOs peer into banking's crystal ball.


Read more...

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...

Labor Pains

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Thinking about starting an internship program? Be careful. Navigating unpaid internships can be tricky.


Read more...

100 Best: The Power of the Worker

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
AND AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Technology is empowering people like never before and transforming how employees interact in the workplace. How can companies attract and keep staff engaged in this rapidly changing world?


Read more...

Downtime with the president of NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Live, Work, Play: Catching up with Chris Johnson.


Read more...

Which Way to Chinatown?

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

The Jade International District, already Portland's center of Asian life, is poised for rejuvenation. Where does that leave the westside's historic Chinatown?


Read more...

10 Oregon companies positioning themselves for growth

The Latest
Friday, March 13, 2015
vcthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Ten startups have secured venture capital, angel or seed funding in 2015.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS